Over 100 Golden Retrievers To Honor Spencer The Boston Marathon Dog Before The Race

Over 100 Golden Retrievers To Honor Spencer The Boston Marathon Dog Before The Race

The 127th Boston Marathon is slated to take place on Monday, April 17th, 2023, but this year will be a little different as Spencer the golden retriever won't be on the sidelines to cheer runners on.

Spencer, the official Boston Marathon dog, passed away before the race this year, and to honor his memory, more than 100 golden retrievers will be walking the last mile of the race and crossing the finish line.

 width= Photo: Flickr/Bill Morrow License: CC BY 2.0

The memorable event was coordinated by members of the MA Golden Meetups.

The dogs participating in the walk will be wearing special "Golden Strong" bandannas to pay tribute to Spencer's "Boston Strong" flag that he held for runners.

According to the New York Times, Spencer started attending the Boston Marathon back in 2015, just two years after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing.

The sweet golden retriever held a "Boston Strong" flag and encouraged runners to keep on the course. The next year, he returned to hold a flag and show his support for the marathon, and by 2018, he was starting to be recognized as the marathon's mascot of sorts.

That year, runners faced a 20-to-30-mile-per-hour headwind and freezing rain, which meant far fewer spectators at the race. But among those few spectators was Spencer, perched in his spot and holding two flags in his mouth to cheer on the runners.

Spencer's owner shared a video of the dog on Facebook and it wasn't long before the video went viral and gained international attention.

Unfortunately, as the years passed, Spencer's health started to decline. In January of 2023, the Fairmont Copley Plaza shared on Instagram that Spencer might not survive to see the 127th Boston Marathon. They wrote, "at 13.5 years old, Spencer is sadly approaching his own finish line with untreatable liver cancer."

To honor his legacy, the hotel unveiled a special commissioned painting of Spencer holding his two flags. Check it out below:

The sweet golden retriever passed away in February of 2023. While his owners are understandably devastated, his legacy continues to live on. And, dozens of dogs will be honoring him this year prior to the race.

The official Boston Marathon Instagram account even paid tribute to the late dog, writing: "Spencer, your spirit and determination inspired us all. We'll miss you, and are proud to call you a friend and forever the Official Dog of the Boston Marathon."

Rest in peace, Spencer.

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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